Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Finding GOLD

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Finding GOLD

Article excerpt

How to Hire Quality Employees

The most valuable skill a property manager can have is the ability to find and hire excellent employees. Our "gold" is our people, yet little effort has been made by the industry to train managers in this important endeavor. Most hires are made by examining resumes and heeding "gut feelings," inadequate methods at best.

When you consider that hiring the wrong person can cost a company at least two years' salary if the error is discovered and remedied within six months, the magnitude of these hiring decisions becomes clear. And the damage is greatly exacerbated when it takes more than six months to correct the mistake.

However, most managers can vastly improve their ability to hire the right people and, thereby, enhance their companies' bottom line. With proper training, mis-hires can be virtually eliminated.

The "Must" List

Begin by developing a job description for the position and extracting the requirements a person must possess to do the job right. This will become your "must" list--qualifications that each candidate must meet to be considered for the job. When making up the list, keep in mind that it is imperative to make no exceptions. Examples of "must" requirements include:

1. Has a college degree in business, with a concentration in economics/finance.

2. Has 10 years experience in the real estate field.

3. Has supervised a minimum of seven subordinates.

4. Has retail, office, or apartment management experience.

5. Has a CPM[R] or other license (for brokers).

6. Is willing to travel.

7. Is fluent in Spanish.

8. Has experience managing X number of properties of at least Y units/square feet.

9. Has held the president, CEO, or equivalent position in a company/organization with gross income of $20+ million.

10. Has a multifaceted background in property management.

You should be able to come up with 5-10 non-negotiable requirements for any job. Remember that these are the minimum requirements, and no one will be hired who doesn't meet all of them.

The "Preferred" List

The next step is to set up a "preferred" list--qualifications that you would like the candidate to meet. This list is usually longer and easier to compile. Some examples are:

1. Has an MBA.

2. Has experience in a certain locality.

3. Speaks different languages.

4. Doesn't need to relocate.

5. Has a marketing, finance, etc. background.

6. Has international experience.

7. Has specialty knowledge (name type).

8. Has a professional demeanor.

9. Has proven leadership abilities.

10. Has excellent communication skills.

The person meeting the highest number of criteria on my preferred list is my best candidate. Your preferred list can include more specific items than mine does. Many of the people I have trained like to assign different point values to the preferred items and score each candidate accordingly.

Strict use of these lists helps eliminate much of the subjectivity in hiring. The resume often embellishes a persons background. When in doubt, check it out by phone.

Because time is our most valuable possession, we don't want to waste either ours or the candidates' on nonproductive interviews. People who pass the must-list screen should all be viable candidates.

The Interview Process

To get the most out of an interview, create the proper environment. This means no interruptions and no desk between you and the candidate. If there is a time constraint, state it at the beginning of the interview. One of our main objectives is to establish rapport. To do this, you need to create a safe atmosphere where the candidate feels secure, accepted, and important.

At the beginning of the interview, say, "I would like to conduct the interview by initially asking questions and you answering them. …

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